2017 Middle School National Championship Tournament

NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2017 Middle School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Hyatt Regency DFW hotel in Dallas, TX, on May 12–14, 2017.

Registration has closed.


May 12–14, 2017 (Friday to Sunday).

Teams will check in on Friday, May 12, and have the opportunity to meet each other and play practice matches on official NAQT questions from previous years. The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday. Teams may arrive earlier than Friday, or stay later than Sunday, to explore Dallas at the discounted hotel rates negotiated by NAQT. Teams that cannot arrive by Friday evening will have a chance to check in on Saturday morning if they notify NAQT of the situation in advance.


The Hyatt Regency DFW hotel in Dallas, TX. This building contains all of the competition rooms and is also the primary hotel at which teams should stay.

There is an additional block of guest rooms at the official overflow hotel, the Embassy Suites South.


This schedule was last updated on May 5 and is considered final.

Friday (evening)
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.Early Buzzer Bonus intakeHotel lobby
5:00 – 9:30 p.m.Staff check-inDoolin (Ground Level)
6:00 – 9:30 p.m.Team check-inEnterprise Ballroom Foyer (Ground Level)
6:00 – 9:30 p.m.Scrimmage round organizationMaverick Foyer (Ground Level)
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.Late arrival team check-inEnterprise Ballroom Foyer
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.Player meetingEnterprise Ballroom 1–4
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.Staff check-inMade-in-Texas 9 (Ground Level)
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.Staff meetingMade-in-Texas 9
9:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.Preliminary rounds 1–6Meeting rooms
12:45 – 2:15 p.m.Lunch (not provided)-
2:15 – 5:45 p.m.Preliminary rounds 7–12Meeting rooms
5:00 – lateConsolation mini-tournament sign-upInformation Desk
7:30 a.m.Playoff bracket postedInformation Desk
7:30 – 8:20 a.m.Playoff cards distributedInformation Desk
8:00 – 8:20 a.m.Staff meetingMade-in-Texas 9
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Playoff rounds 13–18Meeting rooms
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Consolation round organizationInnovation Ballroom A
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.Lunch (not provided)-
1:00 p.m.Buzzer return and packet pickupDoolin
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.Playoff rounds 19–20Meeting rooms
2:15 p.m.Finals (rounds 21 and maybe 22)Enterprise Ballroom 1–4
After finalsAwardsEnterprise Ballroom 1–4

On Saturday morning teams should be in the Enterprise Ballroom by 8:55 a.m.

A printable Time-and-Place Guide is also available.

Information Desk:

NAQT will be operating an Information Desk throughout the tournament at the permanent registration desk just outside the Enterprise Ballroom on the Ground Level. The Information Desk should be the first place teams go with any questions about the tournament. NAQT will also be selling practice questions and tournament T-shirts at the Information Desk.

Note that one question the Information Desk cannot (easily) help with is “Where is my team currently playing?”. As a result of the power-matched format, NAQT cannot quickly locate teams during the day faster than calling or texting the mobile number provided for the chaperone. We will, of course, do our utmost to find lost teams (or lost players), but it won’t be a quick process (and probably no quicker than just calling the chaperone directly).

Participants may also text 213‑279‑6278 (“NAQT”) with questions if it is inconvenient for them to get to the Information Desk (standard messaging rates apply). Tournament staff will answer incoming messages as quickly as they can. This number is only for text messages, not calls. Call 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”) to speak to a member of tournament staff.


Schools qualify to send teams to the MSNCT through their performance at NAQT invitational events and other selected events held throughout the year.

Registration has closed.


The field for the tournament is limited to 160 teams.

Online registration has opened; the current field is listed here.


Teams will play exactly eight preliminary matches on Saturday. Those matches will be determined by power-matching, so that teams with similar records will be playing each other in every round. Every team with a winning record (5–3 or better) will advance to double-elimination playoffs on Sunday.

A total of 12 rounds will be played on Saturday, so each team will have exactly 4 byes. Either 9 or 10 rounds will be played on Sunday, depending on whether the champion finishes with a playoff loss or not.

The Sunday playoff bracket will be posted by 7:30 a.m. at the Information Desk.

Both the Saturday and Sunday matches will be implemented using a “card system” similar to that employed at NAQT’s High School National Championship Tournament. You can preview the 2017 MSNCT Format summary for more details about the card system.

Rules and Eligibility:

This tournament will use NAQT’s Official Rules and Middle School Eligibility Rules.

Consolation Rounds:

Teams that do not qualify for the playoffs are encouraged to return on Sunday to play consolation rounds. These consolation rounds will be moderated by tournament staff. Please note that all students, even alternates and observers, are welcome to take part (in addition, teams can be formed with players from different schools). Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs may also take part.

Teams that want to participate in the consolation rounds should go to Innovation Ballroom A at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Consolation rounds are scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m.

Two kinds of consolation rounds will be offered:

  • Mini-tournaments. These will be three- or four-round power-matched events that run relatively efficiently, but they involve a commitment to stay for all of the rounds. Teams can sign up for these starting Saturday evening at the Information Desk. Teams can also sign up Sunday morning, but the berths will be first-come, first-served, so teams that really care about getting a spot in one of the larger events should make a point of signing up on Saturday evening.
  • Ad hoc matches. These involve no commitment, but they will take longer to organize as available teams will be manually paired against each other as rooms, packets, and readers become available. If you only want one or two additional games, you want to go for this option. Teams may also play ad hoc matches after they are eliminated from the playoffs or after their mini-tournament finishes. Parents, coaches, and other spectators may join students in ad hoc rounds (but not mini-tournaments) if they wish.

If rooms, buzzers, or staffers run short, consolation mini-tournaments will be given priority over ad hoc matches. Given the 160-team field, it is quite likely that a team will face a 30-minute delay if it arrives at 8:30 a.m. hoping for an ad hoc match.

The consolation rounds (whether mini-tournaments or not) have no effect on a team’s overall standing in the tournament. They are played solely for fun.


Registration has closed.

The registration fee is $555 per team if payment is received on or before April 14. The fee is $575 per team on or after April 15. Schools whose first qualifying event occurred after March 1 have until April 21 to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is May 5 or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

As of April 14 the acceptance of invitations will be considered final. Should a team cancel on or after that date, it will still be liable for one-half its base registration fee. This deadline notwithstanding, a team will always have a one-week grace period after it registers in which to cancel with no penalty.

The registration fee only covers entrance to the tournament. It does not cover transportation, lodging, food, or other expenses.

Please note that the field has historically filled; qualifying for the tournament does not guarantee a spot in the field, it merely enables your team to register for one of the spots. Once you have qualified, you should register as soon as you can to ensure your team a berth in the tournament.

Teams bringing a working lockout system to the tournament will be eligible for a $20 discount on the registration fee if it meets NAQT’s national-championship standards. There may be some surprises in that policy! Please read it in advance to make sure your system qualifies. Each team may claim up to two such discounts. NAQT will only award the discount for lockout systems that it can keep from check-in until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. If a team anticipates leaving before that, we would prefer to use (and discount) a different system to avoid inconveniencing that team and ourselves. Teams can pick up their buzzer (and the tournament questions) at 1:00 p.m. in the Doolin room on the Ground Level.

NAQT will also be paying a $20 cash “Early Buzzer Bonus” for every buzzer system dropped off between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Friday. It is valuable for us to get buzzers early (so we can test them and have them ready for scrimmage rounds), and we are willing to pay for that. A team can thus get a total of $40 for each of its buzzers ($20 discount, $20 Early Buzzer Bonus), assuming it lists them on its registration form and drops them off between 1:00 and 5:00 on Friday. The bonus will be paid immediately, in cash, to whomever drops the buzzer off. Tournament staff will be in the hotel lobby during these hours to collect buzzers and pay out the bonus.

Teams may supply one or more qualified staffers for the tournament to earn discounts on their registration fees. Teams will receive a $50 discount for each staffer on Saturday and a $50 discount for each staffer on Sunday (for a total of $100 if the staffer works both days). Team staffers may be assigned as scorekeepers, control room staff, scoresheet checkers, or other roles at NAQT’s discretion; they will not have a chance to watch their team’s matches. The transportation, lodging, and all other expenses of team-supplied staffers will be borne by the team, not by NAQT. In addition, a team claiming this discount must still have at least one adult coach/chaperone with each team at all matches.

In addition to the above “trained” positions, NAQT needs a limited number of untrained “runners.” These positions are Saturday-only, and they will earn their team a $50 discount. Runner positions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Teams wishing to supply a runner must make this request on their registration and receive confirmation from NAQT.

All team-provided staff members other than runners must complete the online training to receive the discount.

Teams cannot “split” a single staff discount across two people: Each daily staff discount must be earned by a single staffer. (But it is perfectly fine to have one person earn a discount for working (all of) Saturday and another person earn a discount for working (all of) Sunday.)

The last day for a team to declare that it is bringing a staffer to the MSNCT is April 14. Team staffers suggested after that date may be accepted or rejected at NAQT’s discretion.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) on or after April 14 will not only forfeit the discount, but will be charged a $100 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a last-minute replacement.

The registration fee includes the right for each team to pick up most of the competition set to use as practice material in future years. Teams can pick up their copies of the first 18 packets of the competition set starting at 1:00 p.m. in the Doolin room on the Ground Level (they can also pick up their buzzers at this time). Teams that want the remaining 5 packets can pay $5 to have them shipped after the tournament completes. Teams that don’t pick up packets on-site can pay $10 to have the entire set shipped. At previous championships, no packets were available until after the final match had been completed; NAQT hopes that most teams will be able to pick up the bulk of their questions before leaving the tournament site.

Team rosters may be changed at any time prior to the start of the MSNCT, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been definitively decided. Register as soon as possible and, if necessary, update the registration when the composition of a team changes.

Checking In:

NAQT will be checking teams in, disbursing information folders, answering questions, and handling outstanding administrative matters between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the Enterprise Ballroom Foyer on Friday, May 12. After teams arrive at the hotel on Friday night, one coach or chaperone should go to the check-in area. That representative will be given the team’s information folder. Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the social and practice opportunities on Friday night.

Check-in will start at 6:00. Historically, there is a long line just after the check-in desk opens, so we encourage teams to glance at the line every 20-30 minutes and to come check in when it is short. There is no good reason to check in immediately! In particular, teams can play scrimmage rounds even if they have not checked in. There is no problem with a team arriving at the hotel at 6:40, playing a scrimmage game, grabbing dinner, playing another scrimmage game, and then checking in at 9:10 when there is nobody in line.

Remember that NAQT is paying an additional “Early Buzzer Bonus” of $20 for lockout systems that are dropped off between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Regardless of when you choose to check in, please consider dropping off your systems during this window to earn yourself a little extra cash and to help us make sure we have everything ready for scrimmages to begin at 6:00. These systems will be collected by NAQT in the hotel lobby near the hotel's front desk (but do not try to give the lockout systems to the hotel's front desk itself, as they will not know what to do with them).


Between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, game rooms will be set up for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous championships. This scrimmaging is free and will be moderated by tournament staff. We encourage all teams to come by to play a practice game or two. Teams that want to scrimmage should go to the Maverick Foyer on the Ground Level (adjacent to the team check-in area in the Enterprise Ballroom Foyer) to be assigned a place to play.

Scrimmages will be organized by means of “scrimmage tickets”: When a team shows up to the scrimmage desk in the Maverick Foyer, it will be given a ticket listing a room and a time; that team should go to that room and be prepared to play at that time. The majority of tickets will be for games that start within 5–15 minutes, but it is possible that there could be a 30–45-minute wait during the busiest periods. If a team wants to play another match, it should return to the scrimmage desk to get another ticket after its game finishes.

Scrimmages are open to all players, including alternates and standby teams. Ineligible players (e.g., parents or coaches) may compete if both teams are amenable to their participation, but the purpose of the scrimmages is to let actual teams experience actual tournament conditions. A more appropriate time for parents and coaches to partake of quiz bowl is during the Sunday consolation rounds.


The top 32 teams will each receive a team trophy, and the members (and coach) of those teams will receive individual awards (up to six per team).

The top 25 individual scorers will receive All-Star awards. In addition, the top 6 non-8th graders who are not overall All-Stars will receive Rising Star awards.

All individual awards will be based (only) on the results of the preliminary (Saturday) rounds. Players must have at least 100 tossups heard (approximately five games) to be eligible for individual awards.

Team trophies (and the individual awards for their members) for teams that finished tied-for-21st will be handed out immediately following the game in which the team is eliminated (in the game room, by the moderators). The trophies for the top 20 teams and for the All-Stars and Rising Stars will be given out at the award ceremony (immediately after the conclusion of the final).

If a team needs to leave prior to the awards ceremony, it can pick up All-Star or Rising Star awards earned by its members at the Information Desk.


Teams will want to fly into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (airport code DFW). The hotel is on the airport grounds (in Terminal C).

Dallas has another airport (Love Field, code DAL), but getting from this airport to the hotel requires a 40-minute ride on the DART train. It may be worth the inconvenience if tickets are much cheaper, but teams should investigate flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport first.


The official hotel for the tournament is the Hyatt Regency DFW itself. Quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds) are available for $102 per night. To receive that rate, teams may either book their stay online or mention the code “NQT” when make a reservation over the phone (972.453.1234). The last day to reserve rooms at this price is April 19. Please note that there are two Hyatt hotels at the airport: The one hosting the tournament is the Hyatt Regency DFW (the other is the Grand Hyatt).

As of March 4, the Hyatt Regency DFW is out of rooms with two double beds, but still has rooms with a single king bed. An additional block of rooms has been arranged at an overflow hotel.

Teams that book rooms at the official hotel (as part of NAQT’s official block) are guaranteed to have free wireless Internet access in their guest rooms and in the public areas (but not in the meeting rooms).

Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport
2334 North International Parkway
P.O. Box 619014
DFW Airport, TX 75261
General Phone: 972-453-1234
Fax: 972-615-6826

Hotel Shuttle:

The hotel is on airport grounds, so teams will not need to rent a car or use public transportation to get to the tournament site. The hotel is adjacent to Terminal C and provides a free shuttle to and from the terminals (including Terminal C). When teams arrive, they should pick up their bags, then call 972-615-6733 and tell the operator which terminal they need to be picked up from. Teams should use the hotel shuttle even if they arrive at Terminal C, as the walk can be somewhat confusing. The shuttle picks up on the lower level in areas designated “Courtesy Vans.”

The overflow hotel also has an airport shuttle which runs between 5:00 a.m. and midnight. Upon arrival at DFW, teams should call the overflow hotel at 972-790-0093 to arrange pick-up.


Self-parking for cars is complimentary for all tournament attendees. Valet parking is also available (at a cost). When entering the airport, teams will need to use a lane marked “TICKET ONLY” and pull a toll ticket. There are relatively few “TICKET ONLY” lanes and they can be inconvenient to use, but teams should still make sure they use them. This is especially true for local teams that have Texas toll tags on their car. Unless you get a physical toll ticket, the hotel will not be able to validate it and you will be charged for parking when you leave the airport grounds.

The hotel will validate toll tickets at its Front Desk. This will make parking free for the tournament. Validate the ticket on the day you check out of the hotel.

Note, however, that each car will need to pay $2 to use the tollway entering the airport. (The metro area has several tollways, so teams may end up paying more than this, depending on their exact route.)

Special arrangements can be made to handle buses, but schools will need to contact the hotel in advance. Bus parking may or may not be complimentary.

The overflow hotel also offers complimentary parking to teams. Note that teams driving from the overflow hotel to the Hyatt Regency DFW will need to get a toll ticket each day they drive over (and have that ticket validated at the hotel before driving back).

Overflow Hotel:

Because the main block of rooms at the Hyatt Regency DFW is mostly full, NAQT has established an overflow block at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas DFW Airport South.

The Embassy Suites offer two varieties of two-room suites:

  1. A bedroom with two queen beds and a parlor with a sleeper sofa (maximum occupancy 6).
  2. A bedroom with one king bed and a parlor with a sleeper sofa (maximum occupancy 4).

Both types of rooms are $109 per night. Teams that book as part of NAQT’s block will receive complimentary breakfast, complimentary evening beverage reception, free Internet access in the guest rooms, and free parking.

Note that there are two Embassy Suites very near the DFW airport: The overflow block is at the South one (in Irving). It is not the one in Grapevine.

To make reservations, book online or call 972-790-0093 and tell them you are with “NAT (sic) ACADEMIC TOURNEY.” Rooms must be booked on or before April 27 to receive the group rate.

The Embassy Suites has a hotel shuttle that can transport teams to and from the airport between 5:00 a.m. and midnight. When teams arrive at DFW airport, they should call the Embassy Suites at 972-790-0093 to arrange pick-up.

It is also available to transport teams to and from the Hyatt Regency DFW (the tournament site), but it is logistically impossible for it to transport everybody who will be staying at the overflow hotel to the tournament hotel on Saturday and Sunday morning. If you stay at the overflow hotel you should plan on renting a car or using a taxi or car-sharing service to get from one hotel to the other. If you rely on riding the hotel shuttle, it is likely that you will have a long wait and not make it to the tournament site in time (resulting in forfeiting games).

All tournament functions will take place only at the main hotel. For instance, there will not be a separate check-in table at the overflow hotel on Friday night.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas DFW Airport South
4650 West Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas, 75062
Phone: 972-790-0093
Fax: 972-790-4768


The hotel will be offering buffets for Friday dinner ($16), Saturday breakfast ($15), Saturday lunch ($15), Saturday dinner ($16), Sunday breakfast ($15), and Sunday lunch ($15). The hotel will also be running cash stands with cheaper options for breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. The buffets will be offered in Jacob's Spring Grille. The cash stands will be set up in the Industry and Leadership Foyer (Ground Level) and tables will be set in the Aviators room at which teams can eat.

The hotel restaurants will be operating at other times (e.g., Friday morning and afternoon; Sunday evening), but no specially priced food deals will be available.

Teams are welcome to have food (pizza, Chinese) delivered to the hotel to eat in their guest rooms.

Because the hotel is on airport grounds, there are not a lot of nearby food options. Teams should plan their meal schedule in advance instead of just assuming, "When we're hungry, we'll walk somewhere and get food."

Practice Questions:

Teams that have been invited to compete at the 2017 Middle School National Championship Tournament may be interested in purchasing the questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available as are the sets from all six previous national championships.

Teams may also want to purchase frequency list or Power Up study guides from NAQT. These are also available on our practice questions page.

Finally, teams may wish to look at the information contained in NAQT’s free You Gotta Know articles before the tournament. These detail important topics in a wide variety of areas. (These lists are targeted at high school teams, but they are still useful for people preparing to compete for the national championship!)

Social Media

The official hashtag for the tournament is #msnct; please use this tag for all messages about the tournament.

Remember that question content for the championship cannot be posted online (or shared through other channels)! This means that team members, coaches, spectators, and moderators should not discuss clues, answers, or even overall themes (e.g. “Lots of opera”) with people on other teams (even those from the same school).

One game in each of the post-lunch Sunday rounds (Round 19 and later) will be streamed live by @NAQTLive. Selected earlier matches will be covered live (without revealing answers or clues).

Further Questions:

To ask specific questions about the MSNCT, please contact us:

  1. by e-mail at msnct@naqt.com
  2. by phone at 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”)
  3. by fax at 413‑473‑1617
  4. by postal mail at:
    11521 W 69th Street
    Shawnee, KS 66203

We look forward to answering any and all questions, no matter how expansive or trivial, in the hopes of eliminating any possible confusion or mistakes in teams’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!